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Review of Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power" 25 Years Later: A Still Influential Heavy Metal Album

Updated on July 14, 2018
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Ara is currently an Accounting student at Glendale Community College in Glendale. CA. His main goal in life is the enjoyment of it.

Vulgar Display of Power: a heavy album that is creative and memorable

Pantera was a heavy metal band that changed their musical style, getting heavier, more hard hitting and aggressive. Their 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power is an example of an album that is hard hitting, creative, and VERY heavy! If you can’t handle the heaviness on this album then check out other types of metal. Sadly, this album would be the last solid moment for a band that would slowly go downhill into mediocrity and get worse with each album. But 25 years after its release, the album remains one that many heavy metal fans will remember. However, this album is still not as good as Cowboys from Hell, the band’s best work. Even so, get prepared to hear some loud, heavy, and aggressive groove thrash metal.

Note: another former member of Pantera has unfortunately passed away as of June 22, 2018. That member is drummer Vinnie Paul who is said to have passed away at his home in Las Vegas home due to what is being called a massive heart attack.

Pantera: the band's logo image

Track Listing for Vulgar Display of Power

  1. Mouth for War
  2. A New Level
  3. Walk
  4. F****** Hostile
  5. This Love
  6. Rise
  7. No Good (Attack the Radical)
  8. Live in Hole
  9. Regular People
  10. By Demons be Driven
  11. Hollow

The song called Walk: one of the album's most memorable songs

The opening song Mouth for War is certainly a nice way to open up the album but the song Walk is the first real “signature” song on the album that really made this band even more famous. The song is basically about showing respect to others in a day and age that has seen a decline in the social graces of the US. There is a good blues style solo by the late Dimebag Darrell. The type of friends that someone has are a pretty good indicator of the type of person that they are. Hanging out with the right crowd is always the best way to do things. The song Dead Wrong has a resemblance to this song and you will clearly hear it in the guitar playing. Just to refresh the memory of those that may have forgotten, Dead Wrong is a song off of the Annihilator album called Remains released in 1997. However, let us not forget the song A New Level. This is a song about a person that has reached a new level of confidence after years of being picked on, bullied, and harassed. Where was this kind of songwriting on their later 1990’s albums?

The official music video for the song Walk

This Love: a memorable song that has stood the test of time

This Love is yet another famous song by this band that has stood the test of time and is still a great semi-love ballad. It has a very noticeable soft part in the beginning. I used to enjoy this one a lot back in 1992 and would even listen to it at night time. The song is about someone who tells his lover that he loved her but that he lied to her. He has been so hurt by her that reconciliation is going to be very difficult. The middle of the song has some great slow, heavy guitar picking before it switches back to the famous soft part that fans will remember. Relationships that are built on a foundation of lies and deceit will not last.

The official music video for the song This Love

Best song on the album Vulgar Display of Power

What is the best song on the album Vulgar Display of Power?

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Vulgar Display of Power is an album that sends a very clear message: we are tired of the status quo

Vulgar Display of Power is memorable because the band was trying to make a statement back then. They show that they are against the status quo and they are tired of the social unrest that has affected the US for so many years. Songs such as Rise and No Good (Attack the Radical) address the very important concept of being united to take a stand against hatred. We must replace hatred with understanding for one another and pride. Rise also addresses the concept of forgive and forget. This is really difficult to do however. The band brings up the subject so that they can raise awareness of the social problems that have plagued the US for so many years. Racism and prejudice have been too common as this has led to much chaos and violence. No Good (Attack the Radical) is an anti-racist song similar to the song called Never. However, the song Never is much better than this one though!

How good is Pantera's last solid album?

For those of us that grew up listening to this album, the anger, ferocity, and heaviness will always be memorable. This was the last time that we saw Pantera at their best. They would still remain heavy, but the quality of the songs and solos would see a major drop. It is the opinion of this writer that American metal bands are not as good as they used to be. What kind of rating does Vulgar Display of Power deserve? Well, it is obviously not as superb as Cowboys from Hell but the album still should get a score in the 80’s. I would give it at least an 85 out of 100 points. This is another very solid groove metal kind of album that is packed with enough heavy riffs to satisfy those that love heavy groove thrash.

What is Different About Phil Anselmo's Voice in This Album?

Vocalist Phil Anselmo takes his voice to a much harsher, rougher level than before. Some of you may like this change in style. I really think that high-level falsetto like vocal style that heavy metal fans heard on 1990’s Cowboys from Hell suits him much better. As we get closer to the end of this album, By Demons be Driven starts with a pretty heavy mid-tempo guitar playing style and switches to a blues style temporarily. As Anselmo keeps shouting “by demons be driven” you can really hear the anger in his voice! Hollow is a mostly ballad kind of song to end a pretty solid album.

The song called Hollow

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Mouth For War Music Video

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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